19 April 2006

It's Hu You Know

President George W. Bush, Chinese President Hu...Image via WikipediaChinese President Hu has been wandering around our neighborhood since yesterday, getting everyone all excited. The business community, led by Bill Gates, sees boundless opportunity for profits in the huge Asian nation. Taiwanese, Nepalis, and Falun Gong followers see suppression, oppression, and human rights violations (and such party-pooping attitudes were why they didn't get invited to the dinner last night at Gates' Medina mansion).

So what's the real China? A recent article in Time highlighted the differences between China and another surging Asian nation: India. China's growth is top-down and government driven. Things get done because the guys at the top make a decision and don't allow dissent or other opinions. In democratic India, things get done from the bottom up, often in spite of the government. Change is slower, but more efficient, more entrepreneurial. Without government resources backing projects, the projects have to stand on their own merits in a competitive marketplace.

So why can't I picture people getting this excited by a visit from Indian PM Manmohan Singh? Or perhaps it's telling that Pres. Bush went to India, while Pres. Hu comes to the USA. We at SoundRoots don't really understand such nuances of diplomacy.

One thing we do find fascinating is the suggestion that Hu has recently had some sort of cosmetic surgery. A People's Daily Online opinion article says:

Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States is a great event in the history of the China-US relations, and it is also a key visit that sets the tone for the relations in the new ear and under new conditions.

So the key, for Bill Gates or the protesters, is to know which ear is Hu's new ear. Guesses?

Now, some Chinese music to entertain your rumination time:

[mp3] Unknown artist: "Green Motherland"
One of many Chinese songs available from The Internet Chinese Music Archive

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